The issues of comfort, function, and suspension are always of primary importance with the provision of any orthopedic device. These concerns are also relevant to silicone socket interface technology, which plays and increasingly active role in prosthetics. More and more prosthetists are incorporating silicone liners into their practice because they enhance comfort for their patients, unlike the conventional stump stock. In addition, they provide an efficient means of suspension when used with a shuttle.
As with many new developments, silicone socket technology introduces its own set of issues. When applied to the residual limb, silicone liners introduce compression, which creates a force system independent of, and often at odds with, the prosthetic socket. Unfortunately, many fruitless socket adjustments are performed due to an inappropriately designed silicone liner rather than a deficiency in socket design. Silicone liners should not introduce high or other undesirable forces to the limb. The prosthetic fitting process is already complex; it should not be further complicated by a silicone liner that introduces inappropriate pressures and restrictions which could result in:
- Discomfort in the popliteal, hamstring, and patella regions
- Restricted knee flexion
- Inappropriate anatomical tapering and overall shape
- Very high pressures developed at various anatomical points